Album Review: Various artists – Kitsune Maison 11: The Indie-Dance Issue

By on Friday, 6th May 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

Gildas Loaec knows a thing or two about dance music. His music label, Kitsuné, has been the jumping off point to success for the likes of TGTF favourites La Roux, Delphic and Two Door Cinema Club. This month, Kitsuné will release their latest music compilation – their 11th – named ‘The Indie-Dance Issue’. When asked about how this came about, Loaec says, “because I find this new CD is taking us yet one more step towards maturity. We’re perceived as a club label when really we’ve always been between ‘club’ and ‘indie’, and this new compilation sits right at the crossroad of the two.” This is an interesting comment, especially when you consider Delphic and Two Door Cinema Club in particular, both acts employing synths and guitars to create the kind of music that sends punters into a dance frenzy.

Considering all this very carefully, it’s not surprising this album has some great tracks from acts you may have heard of and those that have yet to rock our world. Let’s begin with the possible familiar names. Just last month, Coco wrote about a free download, ‘The Greeks’, from London trio Is Tropical. Having previously remixed ‘Come Back Home’ for Two Door Cinema Club’s deluxe edition of ‘Tourist History’ last autumn, the band is now ready to release their own debut album on 13 June. With almost Oriental sounding guitars at the start, it then turns into great dance floor filler once the beats are introduced. ‘Big Things’ by from the London quartet Fiction might be familiar if you listen to BBC 6music; it was on their playlist a couple short weeks ago. It’s less dancey and more chill, in a kind of cool, measured, Vampire Weekend-kind of way, with wiggly guitar lines and a seaside feel.

Housse de Racket, a French electronic duo we wrote about in late 2009 when they were releasing the double A-sided single ‘Synthétiseur’ / ‘Sur le Papier’, are getting ready to release their second album on Kitsuné later this summer. Their track ‘Roman’ appears on this compilation and is probably my favourite on this collection, the perfect balance between beats, guitars and synths to get your heart pumping. And Azari and III, who collaborated with Friendly Fires on the Suck My Deck tune ‘Stay Here’, lend their remixing talent to Brooklyn band Creep‘s song, ‘Days’. The xx‘s Romy Madley-Croft contributes her sultry vocals to this number. You can watch the video for the song below, directed by Casey Fischer of Fischerspooner.

So now we switch gears to the lesser known names. Cosmonaut from Australia (not to be confused with any number of American, UK, and Irish bands of the same or similar name) bring the beats from down under, and boy, are they wicked. These blokes know their way around a synth. Geordie trio Polarsets released ‘Sunshine Eyes’ as a single on its own by Kitsuné in mid-April. It’s pure sun-dappled delight, a luscious cross between Foals and Cut Copy (stream the single below).

But ‘Kitsuné Maison 11’ does contain some more difficult to swallow tracks. ‘Phantastic Phone Call’ by Alexander Dexter Jones (yes, he is the son of Mick Jones, now living in New York) have vocals that are perfectly fine in their new wave effects, but the backing is problematic: if you’re a fan of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy like me, you can’t help sniggering, thinking this would better be suited to soundtracking the 1981 BBC Two miniseries based on his books. I’m usually not a fan of extended dance instrumentals unless there’s something exciting that grabs me on first listen, so tunes like Beat Connection‘s ‘Silver Screen’ and Welsh act Gallops‘ ‘Miami Spider’ (even with the Radio1 backing), while these are okay, they don’t meet my high expectations for Kitsuné. All in all though, there are more winners than losers on this album. Expect to hear several, if not many of these acts burning up dance floors in the near future.

8/10

‘Kitsuné Maison 11: The Indie-Dance Issue’ compilation album will be released on 16 May.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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